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a. Old Norse. skil, neut. (Icel. and Norw. skil, Sw. skäl, Da. skjel, skel) distinction, difference, etc., related to MLG. and MDu. schele (LG. schele, schel), MDu. and Du. geschil, verschil, LG. schill

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b. Discrimination or discretion in relation to special circumstances. Obs.
c. A sense of what is right or fitting. Obs.
  • 2. a. That which is reasonable, proper, right, or just. Obs.
b. In predicative use (= reasonable, right); also with adjs. as good, great. Obs.
c. In prepositional phrases, denoting that something is in accordance with, or contrary to, what is reasonable or right. Obs.
  • 3. a. Cause, reason, or ground. Also with a and pl.
b. A statement made by way of argument or reasoning. Obs.
  • 4. a. One's case or cause. Obs. rare.
b. An arrangement, ordinance. Obs.1
c. A wise or sensible act. Obs.1
  • 5. a. In the phrase can (or could) skill, to have discrimination or knowledge, esp. in a specified matter. Usually const. of, in, or to with inf. Obs. The phr. is an adoption of the ON. kunna skil. In later use, when not accompanied by an adj., skill was probably in most cases apprehended as a vb. (cf. SKILL v.1 4b). The construction with of is extremely common c1525-1640.
b. With adjs., as good, no, some, etc.
  • 6. a. Capability of accomplishing something with precision and certainty; practical knowledge in combination with ability; cleverness, expertness. Also, an ability to perform a function, acquired or learnt with practice (usu. pl.). Freq. const. to with inf.
b. Const. in (also arch. of) a subject, practice, etc.
c. An art or science. Obs.
d. A skilled person. Obs.1


A skill is the learned capacity to carry out pre-determined results often with the minimum outlay of time, energy, or both. Skills can often be divided into domain-general and domain-specific skills. For example, in the domain of work, some general skills would include time management, teamwork and leadership, self motivation and others, whereas domain-specific skills would be useful only for a certain job. Skill usually requires certain environmental stimuli and situations to assess the level of skill being shown and used.

People need a broad range of skills in order to contribute to a modern economy and take their place in the technological society of the 21st century. A joint ASTD and U.S. Department of Labor study showed that through technology, the workplace is changing, and identified 16 basic skills that employees must have to be able to change with it.